Trish Barnes on September 8, 2016
Do What You Love: How to Turn a Hobby into a Business
A hobby can be a fun leisure activity, serving as a way to relax and unwind. But under the right circumstances, it can be profitable and even become a thriving small business.
If you’re finding that your skill is in demand and people are already buying from you, you will definitely want to consider turning your hobby into a business. Following the right sequence of steps can help turn your vision into a reality.
Do Some Preliminary Research
You never want to jump in head first to any business venture without first performing a significant amount of research. Some specific areas you’ll want to examine include:
- Your industry
- Current demand
- Predicted demand over the next five to ten years
- Necessary capital to get started
Develop a Business Plan
Once you’ve figured out the basic logistics and feel confident that you can make your business a success, you’ll want to develop a formal business plan. This will serve as roadmap to guide you along the way and ensure that you stay organized. If you’re not sure of how to go about this process, you can get some helpful guidance by checking out this resource from the SBA.
Even if you plan on keeping things relatively small scale, you’re likely to need some type of funding to get things off the ground and keep you afloat. Fortunately, you probably won’t need as much capital as a typical small business, and you may already have the majority of the necessary equipment and tools to operate.
In many cases, $10,000 or less may suffice. You can look at one of our previous posts, Best Ways to Find Investors for Your Start-up Company for ideas.
Create a Marketing Plan
If you’ve been working at your hobby for awhile, you may already have a built-in customer base. But if you want to ramp it up and turn this venture into a viable business, you’re going to need a legitimate marketing plan to ensure that it grows and that you can consistently bring in new customers. Some questions you’ll want to ask yourself include:
- How can I reach my demographic?
- What is my marketing budget?
- How much of my resources will I spend on marketing?
From there, you’ll need to decide which specific mediums you’ll want to experiment with. Some ideas include:
- Social media
- Video marketing via YouTube
- Content marketing
- Paid ads
If you’ve already got a network in place, you can leverage it and potentially pull in new customers that way. For instance, you might ask existing customers to spread the word that you’re expanding your hobby into an actual business.
Start as a “Side Hustle”
Because you’re going into uncharted territories, you may simply want to start your business out as a “side hustle” and treat it as something to do in your spare time. If it isn’t successful, it won’t adversely impact your income and cause you any unnecessary stress.
This will allow you to test the waters so that you don’t wind up in over your head. If things do work out, then you can amp it up and turn it into a full-time endeavor.
With the right approach and preparation, there’s no reason you can’t turn a hobby into a business. However, it’s important to take it seriously and do your homework beforehand. This way, you’ll put yourself in the best position to succeed.